I love animals. But who doesn’t, right? Furry. Fuzzy. Cute. Cuddly. They make us smile. They charm us with their antics. They give us unconditional acceptance.
There’s a certain kind of animal for every one of us. Dog lovers. Horse lovers. You name it.
Even people who eat meat love animals. We don’t consider animal cruelty or animal testing when it comes to bath and beauty products. It seems odd to connect it with dish soap or toilet bowl cleaner.
Before I became a vegan, I’m not sure I thought about it all that much.
When you buy a bottle of shampoo, a jug of laundry detergent or a tube of toothpaste, it’s a normal, every day kind of thing. Grab it off a shelf, put it in your buggy, pay for it, forget about it. We’re isolated from the harsh realities behind the scenes.
Animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters and pigs are routinely experimented upon. Mice, rats and rabbits are most commonly used for cosmetics safety. I only mention all the other animals because testing is involved in so many other areas.
Substances can be injected, inhaled, administered orally, through a tube in the stomach, or simply placed in the animal’s food. They can be appiled to the skin or dropped into an animal’s eyes. Doses can last a lifetime, be repeated regularly for many months or be given only once.
Most animals are bred purposely for testing, but a minority are wild-caught or provided by suppliers who acquire them from auctions and pounds. The majority of animals used in testing are euthanized afterwards.
Euthanized sounds nice, like putting an old and ailing dog “to sleep”. Not so in regards to animal testing! Depending upon the animal, the method can be anything from inhalation of a gas, breaking of the neck, concussion to the brain, electrocution and even decapitation.
It’s estimated, world wide, that the number of vertebrate (having a backbone) animals used in testing is from the tens of millions to over 100 million annually. That’s every year and it’s an astounding figure!
Cosmetics testing on animals is banned in India, Norway, Israel and the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK). In 2104, India went a step further and banned importation of any cosmetic product tested on animals.
Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. are considering a ban.
So what’s the purpose of this post other than to disturb you? Honestly, I’d planned on completely skipping descriptive details about animal testing and was going to focus more on telling you about the Leaping Bunny. I don’t like the images that are in my head now and I’m sure I’ll lose sleep over them. (I was awake last night thinking about the declining orangutan population, that’s another post for another day). But I also wanted to do a proper article and I couldn’t do that without researching some of the specifics.
I know for a fact, my sister will not have read this post. She may have gotten perhaps a quarter of the way down the page and then she would have stopped being drawn in by the pictures. She’ll simply take my word to buy Leaping Bunny approved products. She trusts me to make informed decisions.
You may have seen a Leaping Bunny on your tube of lip balm or bottle of makeup remover but do you really understand it’s meaning?
It’s a very good thing!
The Leaping Bunny logo is your assurance that NO animal testing was done whatsoever. Not by the company selling the product, nor by any of the companies supplying their ingredients. That’s a tricky area I’ve learned of. A company can say THEY don’t test on animals and that’s great. But the companies they deal with just might and that’s bad.
Here’s an example of my own experience.
Last year, long before I learned about the Leaping Bunny, I was looking into various skin care lines, especially Canadian companies as I try to always support them first. I’d often e-mail a company and ask about animal testing, by them and their suppliers, if their website lacked information. One company stood out for me because of their reply.
“Since we use hundreds and hundreds of ingredients we can’t guarantee with 100% certainty that one hasn’t been tested on animals along the way. We try to avoid that since we love animals too, but it’s impossible to say for sure“.
While I appreciated their honesty, loved that they’re a Canadian company and make their products in Canada, it wasn’t good enough. I believe it’s a company’s responsibility to KNOW. And if they truly cared, they’d be on top of it. I checked their website again today and they have nothing to say about animal testing at all. Most companies want customers to be aware of their admirable practices. So when it’s not on a site. . . . . it makes me think they must do it or have it (in the case of unwanted ingredients).
It’s free for a company to apply to the Leaping Bunny program and to become certified, they’ll be listed on the LB’s printed and online shopping guides. If a company wants to bear the LB logo on their products, there’s a nominal fee based on a sliding scale. Give those companies a big round of applause! They’re really serious if they’re paying, or at least that’s what I think.
Why wouldn’t a company, claiming to be cruelty-free, join the LB program? One of two reasons. Either they want to keep the option for future animal testing open, for themselves or the companies they deal with or they’re unaware of the good reputation that goes along with being a member of the LB program.
I know I’ll be looking for the logo from now on AND I’ll be contacting the companies who don’t have it, if I’m interested in their products. Maybe all they need is some encouragement. I’ll keep my money if there’s no bunny!
Do you wonder if your beauty products are LB approved? Here’s a link to various lists of companies who are certified and/or bear the logo (click on the category of your choice once you’re there). It’s handy to have in your purse/pocket because not everyone carries the logo.
Or do your best to avoid the companies that DO animal testing and print a list of those as well. I’ll warn you, it’s overwhelming! I had no idea and I’ll be checking all my current brands (thankfully it’s a short list). You better believe I’ll be sending some e-mails if I find “tested on animals” products in my cupboard. I’m no longer willing to be an oblivious consumer.